I must have been waiting at the bus stop for an eternity, forever, an aeon. Symon had said that a pensive looking nun normally waited for the 10.26am 16a into town. He used to take the same one on Tuesdays when he went to get his giro cheque. Lipstick money he used to call it, the silly old queen. At least his bus turned normally turned up. Where was mine? I had been there so long I probably would shrivel up and die and dehydrate and they would find me another time, looking like an old shrivelled raisin.
I thought about starting to walk the grey streets to my destination – but then if l started walking I the bus would probably turn up, sod’s law, and I would be caught between stops. I might miss my only chance for at least an hour. There was no bus timetable in Dublin, in case you were wondering. I asked a friendly bus driver one day if there was one and he shook his head in a jaunty fashion, his eye winked out of his broad, drink reddened face. ‘Oh no I don’t think so me darlin’. We come when we fecking come. You gettin’ on or not?’ Like some sort of fiddle dee potatoes caricature. I still don’t know if that bus driver was joking or serious. I was beginning to think he has been telling the truth.
I must have been waiting there in the chill grey forever. The bus stop was filthy. Someone, presumably not the odd looking nun, had etched an expletive word on the Perspex, next to the bus route map. Grey globules of chewing gum and ancient cigarette butts littered the immediate area.
Visualise, visualise it and it might happen. I might hear the ancient motor chug down the street. Smell the cloud of burning diesel first. Or maybe I would see it first – the yellow paint like a shining beacon, ‘Dublin bus’, the words moving towards me, above the Gaelic translation. It seemed I spent my whole life waiting. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for a bus that would never arrive, or the recruiter that never emailed, or the man that never called, or the phone call that did come which I didn’t want.
Or the person that came and sat next to me, unbidden, an annoyance in my solitude.
I wanted for something to happen; for the bus to arrive and take me from this stop and for my life to start. And sometimes, like now, I feel I am right back there, waiting for things to start.